Jukebox Musicals

Songs you know and love brought to life on stage

Broadway is a place where musicals soar unlike anywhere else. In some cases, an original soundtrack tells a new story in an emotionally charged environment where words alone fall flat. Other times, musicals feature a classically influenced score to heighten the drama on stage. Perhaps the most fun and lively musicals are the ones where popular songs from a specific artist or era come together and thread a story that feels both familiar and new at the same time. These jukebox musicals are contagious, and right now on Broadway there are a few that you don’t want to miss.

Winner of the 2006 Tony Award for Best Musical, Jersey Boys is the incredible true story of how four blue-collar young men from the wrong side of the tracks went from being unknown Jersey kids to the international pop superstars we know as Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons. Featuring timeless top 10 hits including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” and “December, 1963 (Oh What a Night),” this irresistible documentary-style jukebox musical is rich with falsetto and will have you grooving and dancing in the aisles and your seat! You may have seen last year’s major motion picture directed by Clint Eastwood, now see the inspiration behind it live on the Great White Way. (August Wilson Theatre, 245 W. 52nd St.)

For a musical with a bit more soul and little less rock, Motown is an explosive record-breaking Broadway hit that shows how legendary artists like Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, and the Temptations transformed America. The musical follows Motown founder Berry Gordy’s rise from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who founded a new sound and helped tear down social and racial barriers in the process. For nearly two years, Motown the Musical has captured the hearts of theatergoers with ensemble renditions of classic songs like, “My Girl,” “What’s Going On,” “Dancing in the Street,” “I Heart It Through the Grapevine” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” Now, on 1/18, this Broadway journey comes to an end, so take advantage of your last chance to experience the magic on stage. (Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, 205 W. 46th St.)

“My, my, just how much I’ve missed you!” are among the many catchy lyrics that will be ringing in your ears after seeing Mamma Mia!, the feel-good musical that has been wooing audiences on Broadway since 2001. Based on the remarkable songs of Swedish pop group ABBA, Mamma Mia! is a Broadway staple that still feels fresh and full of life. Featuring hits like “Dancing Queen,” “The Winner Takes All,” “Money, Money, Money” and “Take a Chance on Me,” the musical has been enjoyed by over 54 million people and was made into a feature film starring Meryl Streep in 2008. The songs are shaped around a funny tale that unfolds on a tiny Greek Island, where a bride-to-be’s quest to find the identity of her father brings three men from her mother’s past back 20 years later. (Broadhurst Theatre, 235 W. 44th St.)

Lastly, transport yourself back to the times of “big bands with big egos playing big guitar solos and sporting even bigger hair” by seeing Rock of Ages, Broadway’s electrifying jukebox rock musical. Featuring a mix of 28 of the greatest hits from the 80s, you’ll hear songs “Nothin’ But A Good Time,” “We Built This City,” “The Final Countdown,” “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” and many more from iconic rockers like Journey, Styx, and REO Speedwagon. Set in L.A.’s infamous Sunset Strip in 1987, Rock of Ages tells the story of Drew, a boy from South Detroit, and Sherrie, a small-town girl, both in L.A. to chase their dreams of making it big and falling in love. Since 2009, this hilarious and super fun musical has been making audiences feel good and reminisce. Even if you saw the 2012 feature film, now is the time to revive your hairband and experience the music first hand. (Helen Hayes Theatre, 240 W. 44th St.)